The focal point for American glass collectors was Green Valley’s sixth annual spring catalog sale of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century glass and lighting. This spring’s auction proved to be the firm’s largest event to date with more than 2,500 lots, which were sold in three sessions. Company president and senior auctioneer, Jeffrey S. Evans kept bidders on their toes by averaging 160 lots sold per hour over three days at Green Valley’s gallery, 2259 Green Valley Lane.
Numerous collections were featured in the sale including the 20-plus year collection of Sean S. and Patricia K. Skinner of Houston, Texas; part II of the Dr and Mrs Oscar Hollander collection of Cape Cod, Mass; the Robert F. DeLong collection of Neenah, Wisc; the Brian Wagner estate collection of Philadelphia; plus additional collections.
Friday’s first session was devoted to free-blown, pattern-molded and mold-blown wares of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. The first 114 lots of the sale were from the Wagner collection, the most prized of which was a Benjamin Franklin historical flask in a black olive amber color that he discovered at a Philadelphia yard sale in 1983. This rare product of Philadelphia’s Kensington Glass Works was in exceptional condition and quickly sailed past its $2/3,000 estimate selling for $8,250.
A wide variety of blown three-mold articles were next to the block highlighted by a brilliant cobalt blue 4 1/2-inch high-footed cream jug attributed to the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co., 1825-1840. This beauty was from the Hollander collection and had been exhibited at the Sandwich Glass Museum – its final selling price of $6,325 was attributed to its brilliant proof condition.
The Skinner collection supplied two rare pattern-moldedarticles. One a deep semi-translucent milky blue circa 1830Midwestern footed sugar bowl with cover, faintly patterned withvertical ribs, in exceptional condition, it sold for $6,050 to anOhio dealer on the phone. The next lot was a brilliant amethystMidwestern tall cruet formerly in the James Courtney collection.This 8 1/4-inch high, 16-rib example dates to 1830-1860 and wasattributed to the Pittsburgh region, possibly Bakewell, Page &Bakewell. After a spirited bidding contest, it sold to an in-houseFlorida collector for $9,900.
Free-blown glass provided the day’s most hotly contested and highest priced lot – a mid-Nineteenth Century medium olive green footed toy jug from the Hollander collection, possibly from Coventry or East Hartford Glass Works. Despite standing only three inches high, it demanded and received tremendous attention from nearly everyone in the gallery. It was in outstanding condition and demolished its conservative $500/800 estimate selling to an in-house New England collector for $10,175.
The third session commenced Saturday morning at 9:30 and included more than 800 lots of primarily pressed glass beginning with a group of early salts spanning the 1828-1850 Lacy period. The star of the show was a Lyre pattern CD-4 in an opaque soft violet blue color. It retained its extremely rare original cover in excellent overall condition. Evans could only locate five other complete examples, three of which are in museum collections. The auction estimate was $8/12,000, but talk before the auction was that it would probably sell closer to the $20,000 range.
At 9:32 am Evans called “Lot 1001” and the small but serious crowd became deathly quiet as if in anticipation of an epic battle. With his staff manning five phone lines, Evans opened the bidding at $16,000 and advanced the bidding in thousand dollar increments between an absentee bidder and the phones until the absentee bidder was surpassed and a collector on the floor who jumped in at $28,000. The in-house bidder eventually yielded to a Florida phone bidder who won this little jewel at $34,100.
After the auction Evans noted that this was by far the most expensive salt ever sold. “It would also qualify as one of the highest prices ever paid for a piece of American pressed glass, but I’m not sure of its exact ranking at this time, top five for sure,” he added.
A large collection of pressed toys was next to the block. Top honors went to a circa 1840 deep cobalt blue Lacy toy ewer, probably by the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co., which sailed past its $300/500 estimate, selling for $5,060 despite several foot chips.
This sale contained many outstanding examples of colored flint pressed glass from the Skinner collection. Several Boston & Sandwich tulip vases crossed the block including a peacock green example at $3,730 and an amethyst example at $3,850. A brilliant cobalt blue hexagonal covered nappie was extremely rare because of the addition of an eight-rib stem and three-step base with extended round corners, a standard normally seen on whale oil lamps. Probably Pittsburgh origin and circa 1840, it was in outstanding condition and sold to a New York City collector on the phone for $11,000.
Sunday’s session consisted of nearly 400 lots of NineteenthCentury lighting from the whale oil to early kerosene periods. Aselection of circa 1870 cut overlay lamps were first up for bid. Agreen cut to colorless 21-inch-high example complete with a periodshade drew the attention of numerous phone and floor bidders aswell as a determined absentee bidder who won out at $11,000. Afterthe sale Evans was happy to reveal that the lamp had been purchasedby the Dallas, Texas, Glass Club for the Dallas Museum of Art.
A majestic 28 1/2-inch-high pink cut to white cut to colorless example would have been the star of the group if it had not been altered for electrification in the early Twentieth Century. The fact that the alteration did not affect the lamp’s outward appearance coupled with its extremely rare and desirable size contributed to it selling for $8,075 to a New York City dealer on the phone.
A selection of more than 30 colored whale oil and fluid period lamps included a matching pair of Loop pattern stand lamps in amber, a color rarely seen in this period, in outstanding condition; after a prolonged battle with a floor bidder, they sold to the phone for $15,900.
All prices given include a ten percent buyer’s premium. Green Valley’s next glass auction will take place September 27 through October 1. Featured will be the collection of the late Harry A. Hoffman of Lancaster, Penn., including the most complete collection of the early Thumbprint pattern ever assembled, along with two prominent Midwestern collections of Sandwich and other early glass.
For information, www.greenvalleyauctions.com or 540-434-4260.